Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly ACC teleconference to preview this week’s game with Boston College. A transcript of the teleconference follows:
DABO SWINNEY: Good morning. Again, just really proud of our team for how they competed last week, and also congratulate Louisville. I mean, it was just a great ballgame. I guess there were a little over 200 snaps played in the game, offense, defense, special teams and it comes down to one play, one play.
It was a pretty special moment. Proud of our guys overcoming a lot of adversity. Five turnovers and still find a way to win the game, that was a great moment. But a short week again for us this week. Right back in here on Sunday, because we play obviously on Friday this week. So today is like a Thursday to us. We travel to Boston tomorrow. Looking forward to a great matchup with BC. Always a tough place to play. Good football team, they’re 3-2.
But Georgia Tech completes a 4th and 20 to have a chance to win on the last drive. So they’re a 4th and 20 away from being a 4-1 football team and a team we’ve got a lot of respect for. No. 1 in the nation on defense. Got a quarterback that transferred from Kentucky that threw for over 5,000 yards at Kentucky. Very impressed with him. They’re 15th and 12th in punt return and kick return.
So we know we’re going to have to play very well. And again, national TV, Friday night, looking forward to being a part of it.
Q. In your postgame after the Louisville win, you said Clemson is built for this. How proud are you and your players for showing that resiliency to come back?
DABO SWINNEY: Oh, man, incredibly proud of their heart and toughness and resilience to hang in there and keep playing. Just, again, to not give up, to not get frustrated. Obviously, we had some critical mistakes, two turnovers in the red zone where we got a chance to get points. And we don’t get points. First drive of the third quarter, we’ve got a perfect throw. It’s a tipped ball. It goes right off our receiver’s hands and they get it.
They put your defense out there on a very short field against as good an offense as you’re going to play. Just some really difficult things that we had to overcome.
But at the end of the day, it’s how you respond and just their belief. Their fortitude to hang in there and keep battling. Again, just play the next play. Again, it came all the way down to the last play. You make the play, you win. You don’t make the play, you probably get beat, and we made the play.
Q. Coach, Coach Addazio’s BC teams are renowned for being one of the most physical in the ACC. Do you expect anything different Friday night?
DABO SWINNEY: Absolutely not. Just turn the tape on. Big, physical. They’re going to run the football and try to set up all their play actions. Their formations and motions and shifts that they use with all their multiple personnel groups, their heavy groups, multiple tight ends, create some tough adjustments that you have to make.
But the biggest thing is you have to be able to match up physically. Because if you can’t, they’re going to bloody your nose. They’ve got four starters back in the offensive line. Again, this quarterback, I think he’s a pro player. This guy is 6’5″, 250-something and can sling it. Then defensively, they finished No. 1 in the nation last year in defense, and they’re right there again this year. They’re No. 1 in the nation in total defense. They’re No. 1 in pass defense. Number 7 in rush defense. Excellent up front. Big, physical guys, and probably two of the best linebackers we’ll play against this year that number 13 and 28. Four veterans in the secondary. So this is a good team, good football team.
You look at their special teams and they’re like 15th in punt return, and 12th in kick return in the nation. So they’ve done some good things so far in these first five games.
Q. Including BC, your last four games have been a Saturday, Thursday, Saturday, Friday, is that a problem developing continuity?
DABO SWINNEY: Yeah, for whatever reason, last year was the same way for us. Just a strange first half of the season. Last year we played two games and we got a very short week to travel to Louisville, to play on a Thursday night. Then we had a 16-day layoff two weekends that we didn’t have a game. Then we’re playing Notre Dame in a hurricane.
So just it was a very funky start to the season last year and it’s kind of been the same this year. This is our third road trip in our first six games and we’ve had already one short week at Georgia Tech on a Thursday night. Then you come back and you’re having a big, emotional game like you had Saturday night. Then you’re faced with another short week and a long trip to Boston.
So the schedule, because we love routine and we like to have some continuity in that routine, so it’s been a little bit of a challenge in that regard. But our guys have responded well. When this one’s over, these last six games, the second half of our season, we’re going to have a lot of normal see as far as our routine that we like to stick to.
Q. BC’s had a nice run of middle linebackers. And I was wondering if you got a look at Connor Strachan, No. 13, and what are your impressions of him, and is he in that line you’re seeing since Luke Kuechly and Steven Daniels and guys like that?
DABO SWINNEY: No question. I said that in my press conference today. I don’t know where they get all these guys, man. It’s like every year since I’ve been competing against Boston College, they have these great linebackers. And he’s another one. I’m telling you, he and 28 are really good players. 13 is active. You can tell he’s a great leader. But just makes a lot of tackles.
You credit a lot of those guys up front, too, because they’re just they’ll gobble you up. But he plays relentless. He’s just another one that’s just like they just pass the helmets down or something. It’s unbelievable to watch these guys. They’re very impressive.
And I saw that when we were getting ready to play Georgia Tech. You’re always peeking at both sides of the ball there as you’re preparing, and it’s like, oh, boy, this is a good player we’re going to have to play against later on down the road. He’s a good one, no doubt.
Q. After you play a game like that against Louisville, do you think internally now I know my team’s one of the best teams in the country, and now my expectations for my team the rest of the season are X, whereas before you weren’t so sure?
DABO SWINNEY: No. As I said the other day, I didn’t find out anything in that Louisville game that I didn’t already know about our team. I felt like from day one we were one of the teams that had a chance And nothing has changed. Had we not won the game, that wouldn’t have changed. That was just a tough match-up. The result on the scoreboard wasn’t going to change what I felt about our team.
I feel like we’re one of those teams that has a chance. That’s kind of how I felt all year long. And we’ve just got to stay committed to doing the things that it takes and continuing to pay the price and take them one at a time and try to put our best foot forward each and every week so that we have an opportunity for a great postseason chance there.
So all that stuff is determined by how we play each and every week, and our guys understand that.